Written exam prior to class

So I start my pilot program April 11 and excited to do so. Reading the intro material it mentions taking my private pilot exam before I show up to class. I just quit my job to do this full time because working and flying was hard to make progress on either. With two kids and a full time job it’s tough to get home from work, make dinner, play with kids, put them to bed, and then stay up to study. I’m doing it because this is exciting and interesting, however I was wondering how essential is getting that written exam out of the way? I feel like I’m learning a lot but I don’t feel confident enough to take the exam yet. Anyone have experience on both sides of this? Also, this is an awesome forum. Thank you everyone for being a part of this. Really excited to be one of you.

Welcome, Patrick!

There are a lot of students that are very grateful for taking the exams early. However, taking the written exams ahead of the program is entirely optional. There is enough time built into the program to complete all of the written exams as you go so long as you hold yourself accountable.

Congrats on scheduling your start date! Please let us know if there is anything that we can help you with along the way.



Many people find the program very challenging and completing some (or all) of the written exams prior simply removes a task that must be accomplished early. There’s zero requirement to do and many people don’t.

My bigger concern is that I hope you’ll have help with the kids during the training? The Career Pilot Program is no joke and will require your full attention and dedication. You’ll have very little time for family or really anything else so I’m hoping you’ve discussed this with your family and have it covered.


Thanks for the advice Adam. Yes very supportive wife and also why I’m quitting my job to do this full time. Looking forward to all of it but nervous at the same time.

Thanks Tory. I appreciate the encouragement.

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It is great if you can get some of the writtens done, but it is by no means a requirement. Do what you can and learn as much as possible before starting.


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Hi all,

Thank you for all the helpful information. I’m considering enrolling in the credit private program to start this coming January. I’d want to give myself enough time to complete all written exams (except PAR, already completed PPL) before the class start date, if possible. I’ve seen that some people choose to take the IRA & FII and FIA & CAX together, since the questions are similar. Is it possible to take more than one exam the same day at a testing center?

Also, I read somewhere that ATP will cover the cost of Sheppard Air. Is that still the case?

Thanks a bunch!


Scheduling two tests on the same day will depend on the location. That question is best directed towards the scheduler when the time comes.

I am not aware of ATP covering the costs of each Sheppard Air test prep. The only incentive currently being advertised is reimbursement for a 1-yr subscription to ForeFlight Basic.

It would probably be in your best interest to call ATP to ask these questions directly.


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Josh, as of late, I’ve heard not to take the FIA and the CAX together. I assume the faa changes the questions some overtime and everyone I’ve talked to recently said not to take them together. I was able to take both the Ira and the FII together, just had to have a hour or two between the test times. The testing center wouldn’t allow me to take them back to back.

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To my knowledge and since 2020ish, ATP hasn’t provided a voucher coupon for the Airman Knowledge Testing, like Tory mentioned you should follow-up with admin about that.

You can and should take both the IRA and FII together same day, if you finish one early depending on the center you may be able to take it right after getting your prior results. I would not do the CAX and FIA same day as the test banks have differed and you will want to study both separately.

ATP does not cover Sheppard Air this was also stopped back in (est.) early 2020, but with completing the PAR, IRA and CAX you get the 1-year subscription of ForeFlight.

Please let us know if you have any other questions. Welcome to the forum.


Thank you everyone for the helpful info! I’ll keep this in mind!